TEAM SANYA – – Broken rudder situation explained
THURS 22ND MARCH
At around 2100 boat time, and 0800 UTC, there was an almighty bang that came from the back of the boat, just a metre away from where I was currently sitting, bailing water out of the aft compartment. Initially I could not tell what it was, until I looked around with my head torch on, what I found was gut wrenching. The rudderstock had sheared off just under deck level; I could tell there was no rudder left looking at what remained. Instantly massive amounts of water filled the aft compartment I was in. I let Mike and Aksel know who were sitting at the nav desk, that the rudder was gone and that we had major water ingress. Mike scrambled down and took a second to see that my initial observation was accurate and instructed me to shut the watertight door.
As the boat was still moving at an average of 22 knots in 24 knots of wind, water filled the compartment instantly. The guys then proceeded to attempt to get the sails down but not before the boat spun into an inevitable Chinese gybe.
We are now hove too, which means our storm jib is backed and steering wheel is lashed off. The boys have been working on plugging the big gap in the boat where our rudder used to be. Mike explained the situation, “Normally if this were to happen, we would be able to slide our spare rudder into the hole and keep going. Unfortunately the way the rudder ripped out of the boat, it has mangled the bearings and so this is not possible. So right now priority is everyone’s safety and plugging that hole.” Richard and Beach have headed up the team to plug the hole and have cut a piece of carbon plate, and have stuck it over the hole. “We are now a water tight vessel again,” added Richard as he came out of the watertight compartment.
It is an incredibly hard thing to swallow for us all right now; it has not quite sunk in… There is a slight feeling of deja vu, but also a feeling that this can’t be real. After such a great start, and leading the pack four days in… It is truly gutting and quite unbelievable.
Right now, the plan is to get north as soon as possible to get out of a building breeze. Then its four days to the Chatham Islands and around five days to Wellington. The plan is still up in the air, but as Mike stated our main priority is crew safety.
Everyone is as well as can be onboard, physically we are well, healthy and even still hungry… Mentally its tough… but as always we will live to fight another day… More to come… standby…